Have you ever noticed how often life-changing events sneak in under our radar…
cozying up and sinking in roots while our attention is distracted with details of lesser import? Back in 2012, somewhere behind my conscious endeavors, my writer’s life did a one-eighty and I didn’t even realize it until the last months of 2016.
I worked for my local library system, a job I embraced with the passion of a life-long lover. Orson Scott Card came to give the keynote address at our all-staff training day. I was providing some of the entertainment for the program and harbored fantasies of meeting and befriending Mr. Card in our behind-the-scenes crossings and thereby benefiting from his wisdom, experience, and connections. None of this happened, but while my attention was thus focused, something momentous happened right under my nose that took me years to recognize as pure gold.
I met Kristine Kathryn Rusch.
I’m embarrassed now at the ignorance and naivete I displayed, but I was still very new to the writing world. I wrote my first three short stories in 2012 and my vision was very limited. As I saw it, I would write hundreds of short stories, sell a dozen or so to reputable mystery magazines to establish my creds, get an agent, and sign a series of traditional publishing contracts. I realized, even then, that my chances for success on this path were exceedingly small, but what else was there?
Kris gave a presentation on the dramatic changes taking place in the publishing industry, making a case for the savvy writer to strike out and go indie. It plunged me into a depression because this was something I could never do. I didn’t have the technical capability, the confidence, or the sheer mental capacity for such a journey and she made it plain that traditional publishing was a shrinking dinosaur.
My hopes for becoming a published writer waned…
but my drive to write and to work and sweat to hone the craft remained strong. I met with Kris after the session and though her arguments for indie publishing still fell upon my untilled soil, she did introduce me to her husband, Dean Wesley Smith.
Dean became my mentor. He does not suffer fools gladly, so I had to step it up and thicken my skin. I learned a tremendous amount about good writing from him and even more about what it means to be a writer. That day I met Kris started me down a road I couldn’t have predicted or imagined and the vista continues to open up, revealing ever more of the fantastic voyage I’ve undertaken.
I believe in blessings, not coincidence.
More about this in posts to come. I’d love to hear about your experiences as a reader or as a writer. Share your comments below and spread some joy or wisdom.
I just wanted to thank you and congratulate you on all your hard work and the persistence you exhibit in learning and doing what you love. I really hope that you are touching people and moving them in ways to make them true long term friends and fans. I sure love you and recognize all the hard work you put in and I enjoy your thoughtful, insightful, and inspiring comments to encourage others to join you on your exciting journey.
Thank you, Terry. I appreciate the unflagging support you’ve given me, the encouragement and patient fostering of my enthusiasms and efforts. There’s no one I’d rather have beside me on the journey. Thanks for being with me.
This was very encouraging to me. I have completed my first novel, have around twenty short stories completed and wanting to go the traditional route. Now, perhaps I’ll re-think. Thanks.
Oh Peggy, I’m so glad I did it this way. Back in 2012, when I met Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch and they tried to convince me to self-publish, I was sure there was no way I’d be able to learn how to do all that stuff, so I resigned myself to the traditional route. When I finally got enough material together to think about publishing, I started putting out feelers for an agent and that’s when I came across Shawn Coyne, an editor with 25 year’s experience. I learned from him that regardless of how I publish, I’ll have to do the marketing. Since that’s the part I really didn’t want to do, I decided right then to do it all myself and keep control of details like cover and title and take home a 70% profit, instead of the traditional 10%.
There’s a lot to learn–sometimes I felt like my brain was on fire I was cramming so much into it–but if I can do it, so can you. I’m happy to help in any way I can. Best of luck, Peggy.